[thelist] print button thoughts

s t e f notabene at f2o.org
Tue Nov 25 14:36:18 CST 2003

<quote who="Brian W. Reaves" when="25/11/03 15:12">
> Has anyone had any success at deterring a client from adding a "print 
> this page" feature on a site. Most sites content pages can be bookmarked 
> and returned too. For content that can't be returned too, perhaps we 
> should educate users on how to save a copy of a page on their computer.
> If users continues to go to sites and print the pages we will never 
> curve the amount of paper wasted on web sites.
> Sorry if this sounds like a rant but I am going through this now with a 
> project and I would love some assistance on how others have handled this 
> issue.

Sadly many people continue to repeat every day that reading on the 
screen isn't just the same. In some cases they're right, like when they 
print roadmaps or tables they want to comment upon, or anotate on 
suburban trains, etc.

I *would* tend to think that Derek Powazek is right in saying that 
people *can* read on-screen.
cf. "Killing the biggest myth of web design"

But, as I said every day I see people print, even in my service where 
they're all supposed to be computer developers. They *can* read on the 
screen, but somehow they don't bother.

I think the best solution to show your client it's not as elegant as 
possible to have a "print this" button is exactly what Joshua said: show 
them CSS-modified print previews and show them that the CSS can do a 
beautiful job, or, in layman's terms: "hey, client X, it can be built 
into the page *without* needing this unholy button that ruins all your 
beautiful design, do you want your clients to think you don't know 
what's best and most beautiful?" ;-)

I've had success so far by playing with CSS and removing all the clutter 
(navigation, etc). After showing them that, the powers-that-be went 
*wow* and forgot completely about asking for a print button.

And after all's said and done, what can you do if people want to print? 
The only thing you can do is talk your client into not cluttering the 
site, with one golden rule: content first, clutter out.

1. make their eyes twinkle with CSS-enabled printing
2. explain, and if it's not clear explain again: the less clutter there 
is, the better their customers will feel --and a happy customer is what 
your client wants, right?

s t e f

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